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Report: The Legend of Zelda Coming to Smartphones in 2018

Nintendo is reportedly planning to introduce one of its biggest franchises to the mobile market: the Legend of Zelda.

The Wall-Street Journal (via Ars Technica) reports that its next mobile game, Animal Crossing, is now likely to hit in the later half of 2017, with a Zelda mobile game following afterwards, probably in 2018. Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has previously said the company would release three new games by March 2018. Accounting for Animal Crossing, that leaves two more slots to fill. 

Nintendo's most popular franchise to hit mobile was Pokemon with the wild success of Pokemon Go, but that game was developed and published by Niantic with only a portion of profits going to Nintendo itself. Its own mobile efforts so far have included the social game Miitomo, along with Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. Animal Crossing is a social game at heart, so it seems fairly clear how it could translate directly to a mobile experience. Zelda is more of a mystery, given its traditional structure.

Both Mario and Fire Emblem contained a collection of campaign stages along with repeatable quests in some form, which could give us an idea of how the company will approach Zelda. We'll have to see how much inspiration it takes from the open-world style of Breath of the Wild, which was widely hailed as one of the best Zelda games in recent years.

If this report holds water, we may see our first tease of Zelda on mobile at E3 next month.

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